With BlogHer approaching this week, I have noticed a lot of tension and drama before it even gets started. This is nuts, and I have to imagine unnecessarily intimidating for new attendees (and returning ones). For those of you going who want to get the most out of the conference (and avoid drama), here are 5 tips for staying cool, calm and focused at BlogHer.
1: Know Why You are Going to BlogHer
A lot of drama is circling around swag. I am not going to get all judgmental, but if you are only going for swag then I can assure you… you could have bought stuff you chose yourself for what you spent traveling to and attending the conference. Consider swag a fringe benefit, and focus instead on your real reasons for attending. Shoot, maybe it is swag. But I am betting for most of us, there is more to it than that.
I find it helpful to have one primary mission when heading to BlogHer. It is so easy to get distracted by all the shiny things. If you have a primary mission that is very focused (some examples: connect with old online friends, make new blogging friends, connect with brands, learn about monetizing my blog), it makes it really easy to know what to say yes or no to.
2: Refuse to Engage or Participate in Drama
Rise above it all. Drama requires participants. Without participants, it fades into nothingness. Don’t engage the drama. Don’t encourage the drama. Don’t participate in the drama. Don’t look the drama directly in the eyes.
Anyone who knows me well knows I have a zero tolerance policy for drama. Yes, sometimes it swirls around me. Occasionally, I will make a firm and opinionated statement in a civil manner and move on. But I refuse to get caught up in it. We are adults. High school is over.
3: Know When to Take a Time Out
I am an extrovert, but even so I can get overwhelmed during larger events. Sometimes, you simply need to walk away. BlogHer provides a Serenity Suite, so be sure to use it. You can even just return to your room for a few minutes of quiet (if it is during the day, odds are good your room will be empty even if you have roommates). Even take a moment to step outside (where you will probably find others who needed a moment to step away). Go to the lobby bar for a drink, or the Starbucks for a mocha.
Walk away. Regroup. No one will judge you for this.
4: Don’t Overschedule
The quickest way to meltdown is to over-schedule. I know how tempting it is. I am type-A and think that I can multitask my way through anything. The reality is that this is the quickest way to get stressed out. Also remember that the best thing about a conference is often what happens between scheduled sessions, events and parties.
Schedule in time to not be scheduled. Yes, I said it. Go into your calendar right now and add in a few hours that say Whatever I Feel Like Doing. You’re welcome.
5: Make the Big Feel Small
Even though BlogHer has thousands of attendees, you don’t have to get lost in the masses. Make the big feel small. Meet up with a few Twitter friends in the hotel lobby or the hotel bar. Attend a smaller session, or one that doesn’t have many people in the audience. Chat up people hanging out in the corridors. Hang out at one sponsor’s booth for a while, and chat with the people running it and the bloggers who pass through.
I hope to see you there this week, and I hope you aren’t stressed!
Photo © Nomad_Soul – Fotolia.com